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Girls Volleyball: West Aurora tops Waubonsie for title

West Aurorplayers celebrate after defeating Waubonsie for Class 4A regional title. | Mike Mantucc~ For Sun-Times Media

West Aurora players celebrate after defeating Waubonsie for the Class 4A regional title. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 25, 2012 9:49PM

It was almost as if the West Aurora girls volleyball team had been to “finishing” school.

Host Waubonsie Valley stayed with the Blackhawks until the mid-teens in both sets, but West Aurora pulled it together in both and finished strong Thursday night.

The Blackhawks dominated down the stretch twice to top the Warriors 25-18, 25-17 to win the championship of the Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional.

The Blackhawks will face defending state champion Benet, the winner of the Naperville Central Regional, on Tuesday at Neuqua Valley.

“When we’re motivated and really want something, we get the job done,” said the Blackhawks Nerissa Vogt. “I wish I could explain our ability to shut down the opponent. That’s just our team. It’s like we’re just warming up and then the ‘fire’ starts.”

“At the beginning of the season we tended to tighten up at the end of sets,” said West Aurora coach Kari Nicholson. “We worked really hard to change that. We’re treating each point as if it’s just a point. And now we’re doing the little things right and finishing.”

In Game 1, Waubonsie Valley (20-17) took the lead at 15-14 on a Rachel Minarick kill, and that’s when the West Aurora “fire” started.

The Blackhawks (32-5) outscored the Warriors 11-3 the rest of the way.

“They had a couple of good serving runs,” said Waubonsie Valley coach Kristen Stuart. “When you get aced a couple of times it gets tough.”

Game 2 presented a similar situation. The Warriors were tied at 11-11 and still within two points at 15-13. But West Aurora again took over and finished on a 10-4 run to win the regional.

“We were with them until 15 in both sets,” said Stuart. “But that’s where a great team makes its run and gets separation. West Aurora didn’t make many errors down the stretch in either game. They have a lot of offensive weapons. They hit smart shots, hit all the corners. Their hitters were able to go over and around the top of our blocks. Our team played mentally tough and battled hard the entire night. We were just beaten.”

West Aurora was led by Peyton McKenzie with eight kills and Lauren Carlini with seven kills, 14 assists and six digs.

Vogt and Kaitlyn Richter had four kills each.

Waubonsie Valley’s Minarick had seven kills, five digs and a pair of aces. Kelly Skotnicki came up with six digs and Noelle Linden had eight assists and three digs.

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